By Calvin Cordova
Cebu City — The Department of Health-Region 7 (DOH-7) has announced that it has run out of anti-rabies vaccines.
The shortage of anti-rabies vaccines was caused by the increasing number of animal and canine bites and the temporary suspension of DOH’s procurement of World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified vaccine called Rabipur.
“The sudden increase in the demand for the anti-rabies vaccines has caused major disruption in the supply of the other WHO prequalified vaccine, Verorab,” Jaime Bernadas, regional director of DOH-7, said in a statement.
Bernadas added that currently, there is no available anti-rabies vaccine in the Cold Chain Unit of DOH-7 in Cebu City.
With the shortage, the Office for Technical Services has informed the Animal Bites Treatment Centers, local government units and the public that procurement of non-WHO prequalified vaccines can be done while the WHO prequalified vaccines are still unavailable commercially.
The DOH, however, reminded that procuring of non-WHO prequalified vaccine is allowed if the vaccine is approved by Food and Drug Administration and is contained in the dossier of recommended anti-rabies vaccines of DOH.
“In the event that the availability of WHO prequalified vaccines is restored in the market, the DOH shall revert its recommendations to the previous specifications,” said Bernadas.
Because of the shortage, the DOH reiterated the need for the enhancement and strengthening of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) on responsible animal ownership.
The DOH-7 is also asking the assistance the LGU’s veterinary and agriculture offices for the conduct of mass dog vaccination and control of the stray dog population.
The DOH-7 noted that in the past decade, there were 92,769 cases of animal and canine bites in Region 7 while 21 cases of human rabies were recorded.